I normally dither about at this time of year, not wanting summer to end and ignoring the need to get the cool season seeds started now before it is too late! Well not this season. The sooner summer is behind us the better – it was rubbish! Having said that, I’m not sure I’m happy with where this new season is going, but time will tell. But we are only 5 days in, and it has me reaching for some thick socks! The temperatures have gone from too hot, the kind of hot that makes sleeping difficult, even with the windows open to having me want to put on thick socks just two days later!
The rain in between was great. We got 11.7mm in the garden and Hubby the Un-Gardener even bought a very long ladder to clean the gutters so we were ready for it, so our tanks could be filled with fresh clean water. The drought hasn’t broken but we are one step closer to not worrying about water again. Autumn, you are on warning – you are supposed to be mild and gentle and ease us into the cold weather. Enough of the crazy flip flopping – it doesn’t become you.
But enough about the weather, what I need right now is some progress. A sense of moving forward, of growing for me and the garden. And so, as the new season stretches out in front of me, I need to make the most of it. And the best way to do that right now is to sow seeds. While the options open to me aren’t as vast as it was 6 months ago as I was staring into the face of spring, all hopeful and expectant, there are still options for a winter garden and with our frostless coastal spot there are boundaries to push.
While I can’t see a new crop of sweetcorn or beans going in, there are still interesting things to plant out. I may see how well a tomato and a cucumber will do in the greenhouse over winter. It won’t be heated, but it will certainly be frost free.
As for out in the garden – I want to grow all the things – well maybe not all the things. I have been growing turnips for a few seasons now and to be honest I don’t enjoy them as much as I do swedes, but turnips are ready faster than swedes, but swedes make a more comforting mash whereas turnips can be a bit watery. We need to question these things honestly, so we don’t waste time and effort growing something that won’t be eaten or worse – forced upon a poor hapless family who just want something nice to eat for dinner. Maybe I’ll plant just a few – while we’re waiting for the swedes.
The other thing to think about is how we will eat things. The problem is seeds are so tiny, so it is so easy to just plant a few extra… and then there is more space in a winter garden than in a summer one… so, you plant them all and end up with a mountain of Bok choi requiring the family to eat stir fry every night for weeks before the plants go too far. I think for the family after stir fry three in a row it has gone too far! Meanwhile the swedes are ready and demanding attention. It is almost like you have to meal plan in advance and then work backwards to think ‘ok on the 16th of June we can have a stir fry and we will need Bok choi – not a big one, and probably some carrots and there should be some onions left and some broccoli and all going well some red peppers in the freezer. So then to get a small sized Bok Choi I need to sow it around mid April. The broccoli will need to be started around about the end of March, but considering things grow slower maybe now would be fine and for the carrots… oh no – I’ve missed the window for the carrots for our meal in June. It’ll have to be baby carrots and I need to work on my succession sowing of carrots.
Gosh that is all giving me a bit of a headache. Not only do I need to take into consideration how we eat everything, but also the crop rotation, cover crops, things I want to grow beyond the garden – I need to get onto growing a windbreak – I probably should have started that yesterday. Actually, I should have started on day one as the first thing I did, but we’re at this point now so let’s not go there! I thought I had the crop rotation sorted but there are lessons that have been learnt from this season and changes are needed.
There is so much to think about, but I think the first thing to be done is to sow some seeds… any seeds and get them started. I can always give away the ones I don’t need to friends who can create their own midwinter stir fry drama in their household!
Come again soon – I’m sowing seeds!
Sarah the Gardener : o)